How to become a Court Officer

Court officers assist in the effective operation of courts.

Personal requirements of a Court Officer

  • High level of maturity
  • Good character
  • Able to communicate with a range of people
  • Aptitude for clerical duties
  • Comfort in a legal environment
  • Able to exercise a high level of responsibility

Education & Training for a Court Officer

You can work as a court officer without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. The courts prefer you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in legal services, legal practice or justice. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a court officer by studying justice, criminology or legal studies at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. To work as a court officer you must be a state public servant. See the Public Servant - State Government entry for details. Specialised training is given on the job.

Duties & Tasks of a Court Officer

Court officers may perform the following tasks:

  • announce the beginning and end of court sessions
  • call on witnesses and administer the prescribed oath to jurors and witnesses
  • administer the jury roster and post court lists on notice boards
  • keep records of court processes served
  • enforce court decisions by executing court orders, and serving legal orders and documents such as summonses or subpoenas
  • maintain the orderly conduct of court and hearing rooms and adjacent areas
  • attend to judges or magistrates, escorting them from chambers to the courtroom
  • record and protect exhibits tendered in court and pass them to participants during the hearing
  • maintain security, care and control of jury panels
  • liaise with the judiciary, police department and legal professionals, and advise the public on legal procedures and practices
  • run the court registries and maintain the court files
  • open and close court and hearing room proceedings
  • organise furniture for court and hearing rooms
  • allocate rooms for use by legal practitioners
  • prepare audiovisual equipment for court and hearing rooms
  • escort prisoners to and from courtrooms
  • summon potential jurors to court.

Working conditions for a Court Officer

Court officers are required to liaise between the magistracy, legal practitioners and members of the public.

Employment Opportunities for a Court Officer

Most court officers work in the metropolitan area, although there are some positions in country areas. Court officers are employed by state, territory and federal governments in courts such as the Federal Court, Supreme Court, Family Law Courts, Magistrates Courts, and district and local courts, as well as some tribunals. Experienced court officers may find opportunities for advancement in administration and management within the court systems, as well as in the state or territory and Australian public services. There are opportunities for temporary and casual work in this field.

Specialisations:


Bailiff

A bailiff attends to the needs of the jury throughout a trial and 'swears in' the jurors and witnesses during court proceedings. They may also serve writs, summonses and other court orders.


Clerk of Court

A clerk of court prepares documentation of court proceedings, actions and decisions; attends court sessions; and assists judges and magistrates.


Court Registrar

A court registrar prepares the daily court list, maintains court records and handles the accounting and distribution of money paid to the court.


Sheriff

A sheriff is responsible for providing court security and support services, managing the jury system and serving the orders issued by courts and tribunals. They also undertake administrative tasks, such as processing people appearing before the courts for trial or sentencing.

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